When We Left Cuba – Chanel Cleeton

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: Audiobook – EXCELLENT narrator in Kyla Garcia.

Full Summary: This book would make a FANTASTIC movie. I got frustrstrated at the constant message of “I don’t need a man, I want to save Cuba!….. oh, I cannot give this man up.” Blarrghhhhh

This reminded me a little of The Americans TV show with a strong woman spy kind of character that I just wanted to ditch the man and move on.

When We Left Cuba Chanel Cleeton
By |2019-12-12T19:24:26-05:00July 22nd, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

I Miss You When I Blink – Mary Laura Philpott

Rating: 4 stars

Cliff Notes: I love this format – separate chapter essays of non-fiction. This is the first thing I have read by this author, and I really enjoyed it. I plan to put her other book, Penguins with People Problems, on my TBR as well.

“I feel like a human traffic jam.”

This is but one of the gems you will get in this book. I usually call this feeling Tuesday afternoon.

Full Summary: One of the best things I like in a book is chapter, passage, or page that can feel like a gut punch and make me laugh out loud at the same time. This book is that.

One of my favorite chapters is about friendships, how they change as adults, and how they can sometimes be mindnumbingly superficial. I get tired of talking about the weather, “Pleasant weather we’re having. Blessed be the fruit.” I get tired of talking about superficial stuff or bragging about how much we are failing as mothers, wives or women. The author describes a long, painful discuss about chicken salad.

I too am done discussing chicken salad. I want more from my relationships.

I Miss You When I Blink Mary Laura Philpott
By |2019-12-12T19:26:21-05:00July 4th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Salem Falls – Jodi Picoult

Rating: 5 stars

Cliff Notes: Besides Addy being a worthless ding dong, I loved this book.

Full Summary: I kept waiting for the twist (and brashly called it incorrectly about halfway through this book). When the twist I anticipated did not happen, I was satisfied with the twist we were given. And by “satisfied” I simply mean from an entertainment point of view. The new twist was disgusting from a human being point of view.

I am so angry at teenage girls who are manipulative and brutal to peers and “friends.” You know how mean girls are made – by watching women be mean to each other. And mean girls grow up to be mean women. Ladies – WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS!

I am so angry at false reports of rape. It makes it so hard for the truly injured girls and women. It makes it so hard for truly caring adults to interact with youth because of suspicion founded on lies. One false report out of a hundred actual rapes turns the tide of public opinion that “most reports are false.”

Then to adults who actually ARE predators. Take them out back.

By |2019-12-12T19:31:53-05:00June 8th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Shine – Jodi Picoult

Rating: 4 stars

Cliff Notes: Jodi Picoult at her best. I am always amazed at the level of research she does for her books.

Full Summary: I think this is an important read for people who think racism is a thing of the past. Yes, the publication date is 2016 but nothing has changed since then – well, gotten worse if anything.

Reader beware – this is SHORT – 42 pages, 1 hour audiobook – 30 MINUTES IF YOU ARE ME LISTENING DOUBLE SPEED. I was sure my phone had messed it up and cut me short.

By |2019-12-12T19:32:52-05:00June 2nd, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Normal People – Sally Rooney

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: Audiobook – excellent with accents!

Full Summary: I wanted to bonk these characters upside the head and drive them to therapy. And the ending! I wanted to throw my phone across the room when I realized it was over because it was SO FRUSTRATING. But alas, that is why it is titled, Normal People. We all do dumb things and are a hot mess in need of therapy.

This easily could have wrapped up with a tidy bow and I applaud the author for not taking that sappy route. I will be back for more from Sally Rooney!

By |2019-12-12T19:33:49-05:00May 24th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Harvesting the Heart – Jodi Picoult

Rating: 5 stars

Cliff Notes: Alternating point of view is a favorite style of mine. I don’t need a huge twist to enjoy this author. The ending was very satisfyingly ambiguous.

Full Review: One thing all reviewers of this book will agree on is that it is not like the other ones. And really, people – if all of her books were similar you would be ranting about a cookie cutter approach. It is OK to think a character is whiny and not want her to get what she wants. It is ok for a character to change her mind and grow within a book – even if it not how you would have grown.

I just enjoy listening to someone else’s story. I don’t need to try to figure it out ahead of time or have the characters do what I would have done. Books are an escape for me and that is why I enjoy reading this.

By |2019-12-12T19:35:48-05:00May 14th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Book sale!

The only thing better than reading books is buying books super cheap when the money goes to a good cause! Today kicks off a fantastic local book sale.

This was my first year attending after hearing rave reviews and oogling it as I drove by over the past few years. It did not disappoint!

Volunteers spend weeks leading up to the event sorting and categorizing donations. One building has children’s books, another building has “cool and collectible,” and the main building has everything else. I was GIDDY when I arrived and probably had NEWBIE written all over me. It was a delight!

My current strategy at used book sales is to let the books pick me. I know this sounds woo woo (perhaps that needs to be a tag because this will be a recurring theme). This is a survival tactic though. With past sales, I armed myself with a long list of what I was looking for, then basically had a panic attack at the huge tables stacked with hundreds of books simply labeled: FICTION.

So now I arm myself with an open mind and 2 reusable shopping bags. I wander through the stacks, running my fingers over the books and reading titles and reviewing authors. If something strikes me I read the blurb and double check my Goodreads account to make sure I have not already read it. Then I pop it into my shopping bag. Once I have a bag full I check out. Full disclosure: I do carry a second bag, but try to limit it to one bag.

I also keep other people in mind as I wander. Sometimes I see a book that I loved reading and am almost sad that I have already read it because I know I won’t have the experience of reading that beloved book again (I’m looking at you, Poisonwood Bible). Those books I pull out and lay on top of the pile so it stands out to other shoppers. If I see books friends or family would like I drop that in the bag too. For example, my mother-in-law recently retired and has been reading more and is exploring various authors in the category of mystery / thrilled. Lee Childs and Harlen Coben? In the bag they go, please and thank you.

What is your strategy for tackling used book sales?

By |2019-12-12T19:13:44-05:00May 9th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

The Lost Man – Jane Harper

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: Audiobook read by narrator with Australian accent. Always a treat.

Full Review: I love how Australia is always a character in Jane Harper’s books. I do not love when there is a love story wedged into a family drama – give me a break. Hey Publishers – we don’t always need a love story. If I want a love story, I will sort my TBR to find that genre. I want good old fashioned family dysfunction as my bedtime story, thank you very much.

I also do not love books that magically wrap up in the last little bit of the book. Nathan basically has been frozen out for 10 years then boom – last 5 minutes of the story he reconciles with his mom and brother. Oh and the whole town. This is better than 22-minute sitcom resolution that NBC offers!

I do love a book with a title that could be applicable to more than one person in the story. Is Cameron the Lost Man or is that referring to Nathan in the aftermath of the drama 10 years ago.

By |2019-12-12T19:36:43-05:00May 8th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult

Rated: 5 stars

Cliff Notes: I loved this book. I love this author. Now I love elephants. Great twist, one of her best.

Full Review: Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. Whenever I see a book of hers come up on my holds list at the library I know I am in for a treat. When I see she has a new release I automatically add it to my To Be Read (TBR) list because, well – she does not disappoint. This book did not disappoint!

You always know you are in for a Twist. Not just a twist, but a Twist. Sometimes a TWIST. My sister-in-law had read one of her books and passed it along to me when we were at the beach one summer vacation. I hit the TWIST and shouted, “NO WAY!!! OH MY GOSH!!” and she just cracked up laughing and announced to the group that I had just hit the part where [blah blah blah]. That is a Jodi Picoult book for me. Some readers do not have that experience and that is because they are more “Sherlock Holmes / Harriet the Spy” than I am. I am more “let the book happen to me” than to try to sleuth out the clues dropped by the author. I don’t want to figure out the TWIST, because then it just becomes a plain old twist. 

By |2019-12-12T19:37:18-05:00May 8th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments
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